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Chicago Bears defeat Seattle Seahawks 35-24, will host NFC title game

CHICAGO — Football's oldest rivalry has a grand new prize: a spot in the Super Bowl.

Maybe even with an anniversary reprise of the Super Bowl Shuffle if the Bears can get past the Packers next Sunday.

"It's a big deal. We have a lot of history with them," Chicago star linebacker Brian Urlacher said after a 35-24 victory over Seattle set up an NFC Championship Game with Green Bay. "We don't like them, they don't like us."

Jay Cutler ran for two touchdowns and threw for two as Chicago (12-5) pounded the Seahawks. The Bears built a 28-0 lead, but it was against the first division winner with a losing record, making it difficult to measure how good they are. The NFL finds out next week against the Packers (12-6), who have beaten No. 3 seed Philadelphia and No. 1 Atlanta on the road this month.

The last time Chicago won the NFL title, Walter Payton, Jim McMahon and Mike Singletary did the Super Bowl Shuffle all over opponents. That was 25 years ago, and to compare these Bears with the wild bunch that won Chicago's only Super Bowl is a stretch.

But next Sunday's matchup is fitting if only for the history: It will be the biggest game in Chicago's 90-year series with the Packers. They will play for the 182nd time, but it's their first meeting for the NFC title.

The only time they have met in postseason was in 1941, when Chicago won a tiebreaking game to determine the Western Division champion.

"Now that we have beaten the Seahawks, it just doesn't get any better, as I see it, than for the NFC championship coming down to the Packers coming down on our turf this time," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "The Packers and Bears to finish it up."

Cutler got it done with nimble feet as well as precise throws, running for 6- and 9-yard TDs.

"It was fun," he said with a smile. "That first one was called. Second one was kind of improv."

The Bears shut down a Seattle offense that scored 41 against New Orleans last week. Sunday, Seattle had just 111 yards through three quarters at Soldier Field, where it won 23-20 in October. The Seahawks' points all came with the outcome decided.

Cutler, in his first postseason game, showed none of the wild swings that often have marked his five-year career. His shifty moves on a 6-yard run made it 21-0, essentially turning everyone's attention to next weekend.

"We're both familiar with each other, so nothing's going to be new," Cutler said. "We have our hands full."

The Seahawks showed none of the surging emotions or big-play abilities they sprung on the Saints at home.

Olindo Mare's 30-yard field goal got the first points for Seattle, which will get mixed reviews in Pete Carroll's first season as coach. The Seahawks went 7-9, hardly what they had in mind when they hired Carroll away from Southern Cal. Still, they won the weak NFC West, and eliminated the Super Bowl champions in the wild-card round.

"It took a long time for them to … fight and compete and do the things we want them to do," Carroll said. "I would have loved to have got this game today that so many people didn't think we could. I see where we're going and I'm proud of that."

Bears 35

Seahawks 24

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Seahawks0032124

Chicago Bears defeat Seattle Seahawks 35-24, will host NFC title game 01/16/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 16, 2011 9:57pm]

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